As the coronavirus spreads through the penal system, the U.S. Department of Justice has called for federal prisons to release some inmates to home confinement. Elderly or sick inmates who are nonviolent would be safer at home, Attorney General William Barr said in a memo. And releasing them could help alleviate the crowding that can make an outbreak worse.
But the Missouri Department of Corrections' inmates are not seeing similar paths to release. Despite advocacy from the ACLU of Missouri and other groups, the state prison system has made no moves to reduce its population.
On Monday’s St. Louis on the Air, Sara Baker, policy director for the ACLU of Missouri, explained that there’s a national bipartisan movement to get inmates who are most at risk moved to home detention. Yet in Missouri, she said: “We absolutely are not seeing that happen at the state level. It appears to be sort of a game of wait and see.”